The "cheese of kings and popes," Roquefort was the favorite cheese of French Emperor Charlemagne and is still loved for its tangy, sharp taste. True Roquefort is aged in caves that tunnel four miles into Mount Combalou in south-central France, where the cool and humid atmosphere promotes growth of the mold Penicillium roqueforti, which gives the cheese its characteristic blue-green marbling.
So who decided to leave sheep's milk rotting in a cave for three months? According to legend, a smitten shepherd left his lunch at the mouth of a cave to woo a shepherdess, and when he returned to the spot months later, he found the moldy but delicious cheese now known as Roquefort.
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